Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy has warned that the proposed Athlone boundary change has not been written off completely and unless a number of stipulations from the boundary report are adhered to then the controversial boundary changes could still go ahead in four years time.
Deputy Murphy was speaking this afternoon following a briefing session for Oireachtas members in Leinster House in relation to the Athlone Boundary Committee and he outlined details of the boundary report.
“I am not happy that the proposed boundary changes which seeks to co-opt parts of County Roscommon into Westmeath have been completely written off – the boundary report states that there must be a joint local area plan within 24 months, a joint retail strategy within 18 months and a service delivery analysis and plan within 9 months while the implementation of these service delivery changes must take place within three years,” said Deputy Murphy.
The Fianna Fail TD also pointed out that the boundary report indicated that Local Authority services between Roscommon and Westmeath should be shared and this could be extended to other organisations such as the HSE, the IDA and other bodies.
“Plan of action”
“When I pressed this issue at the Oireachtas briefing this afternoon it was indicated that if all of these conditions are not implemented within four years then the proposed boundary change could still go ahead. I am not satisfied that boundary change has been completely written off and I think this is a sophisticated way of getting around it- The boundary report is a plan of action with a number of issues to be addressed within specific deadlines and in my view the Minister needs to scrap this plan of action in the boundary report and simply take the issue off the table completely as this still leaves a veil of uncertainty over the issue,” concluded Deputy Murphy.